ServeOhio Awards


Volunteerism and service improves lives in Ohio every minute of every day.  The impact of everyday citizens who reach beyond themselves to help their neighbors and communities – transforming themselves and others – shape who we are as a state.  We give, we learn, we serve, we grow.


2021 ServeOhio Awards

The 2021 ServeOhio Awards nomination process is now closed. 

The ServeOhio Awards, made possible through support from the American Electric Power Foundation, honors outstanding people, groups, and initiatives who make great contributions to their local communities and the state through service and volunteerism. The ServeOhio Awards recognize volunteers, service groups, corporate groups, and/or volunteer initiatives throughout the state.

The Awards will recognize a volunteer, service group, corporate group, or volunteer initiative in each of the 5 regions of the state. For a breakdown of counties associated with each region, click here. 

  • Northwest
  • Northeast
  • Central
  • Southwest
  • Southeast

Nominators can choose to submit a nomination for an adult volunteer, youth volunteer, community volunteer group, corporate volunteer group, volunteer initiative, or national day of service project.  Nominations for national service programs (AmeriCorps, Senior Corps) will not be considered.  Nominations will be grouped and reviewed based on the geographic region of the state where the volunteer served.  One award will be given in each region of the state.  Self-nominations will be accepted and nominators are encouraged to submit multiple nominations.

A cash award of $1,000 will be issued to support the organization which benefited from the recipient’s service.  The awards will be presented during National Volunteer Week, April 18 - 24, 2021. The nomination deadline was January 29, 2021.


Nomination Process

Completed award nominations and support letters/photos must be submitted electronically to by January 29, 2021. ServeOhio staff and commissioners will review nominations. Reviewers will evaluate nominations based on the nominee’s accomplishments and measurable community impact. Nominators will be notified by March 8, 2021 whether their nominee was selected. 

Please refer questions regarding the ServeOhio Awards to Rebeccah Verhoff-Kiss,


ServeOhio reserves the right to not grant awards in all regions if an insufficient number of entries are received and/or the applicants do not meet the established standards of the review committee.



Meet the 2020 ServeOhio Award Recipients


Terri Kirtos & Corey Fink, Toledo

Terri Kirtos and Corey Fink are the volunteer coaches for the Inclusive Miles Running Club, a walking/running club to improve the overall health and well-being of individuals with disabilities in Toledo. Since 2014, Terri and Corey have volunteered over 60 hours annually, coaching individuals of all ability levels, prepping them for monthly community group runs, and getting them ready to participate in 2-3 5K races annually. Their compassion, care, and concern for the Club participants is strong, and together they are improving the health and engagement of individuals with disabilities in Toledo!


Veterans Visiting Veterans, Concord

In March 2019, Lake Health launched the Veterans Visiting Veterans program, where each weekday a veteran volunteer visits a veteran patient who has been admitted to TriPoint and Lake West Hospitals. The veteran volunteer visits with the patient and their family and presents them with a gift bag which includes a small American flag and stand, a flag magnet to place on the patient door to identify them as a veteran, a veteran information packet, and a community donated/handmade patriotic lap blanket. The volunteer’s and patient’s common experiences and understanding about veteran life make it easy to connect, empathize, share stories, laugh, hug, and sometimes cry together! Since the program launched, five veteran volunteers have made over 1,500 patient visits and given out over 800 bags with community donated lap blankets.


Hindu Youth for Unity, Virtues and Action, Columbus

Hindu Youth for Unity, Virtues, and Action (Hindu YUVA) is a service organization at The Ohio State University that focuses on the broad values and virtues that the Hindu way of life brings and implements them to serve and empower the community. Its primary goal is to create selfless leaders. Students of Hindu YUVA created a mentoring/leadership program at the Bhutanese Community Center where they spend time every week for 2-3 hours helping young refugees with their homework, engaging them in yoga/meditation, and helping these new Americans feel more connected to their new community. Additionally, Hindu YUVA conducts annual Diwali food drives to support the NNEMAP Food Pantry in Columbus. Over the past two years, students collected over 1,000 pounds of food and volunteered in the food pantry sorting and stocking the shelves.


Kathy Luhn, Sharonville

Kathy Luhn has dedicated the past 28 years to serving and educating the people of the Greater Cincinnati area at Heritage Village Museum and Educational Center. Starting her volunteering in 1992, Kathy has filled countless roles at the museum including collections manager, where she serves hundreds of hours behind the scenes each year to catalogue, organize, and preserve an extensive collection of artifacts from the late 18th through the 19th centuries. Beyond the artifacts themselves, Kathy has worked to conserve and ensure proper presentation and interpretation of 13 historic buildings through furnishing plans, the identification and application of historic wallpapers, and the creation of historic floor coverings. She’s even been known to create historic meals and recipes for museum patrons! In 2019 alone, she volunteered 428 hours and her contributions to have been felt by every visitor, volunteer, and staff member who have set foot at Heritage Village Museum for the past 28 years.


Nellia Underwood, Athens

Nellia Underwood has served as an RSVP volunteer at Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development (COAD) for the past five years. A longtime community volunteer, Nellia volunteers at COAD, is a Blood Donor Ambassador at the American Red Cross, and also serves at the Filipino-American Association in Athens. She’s served over 1,000 hours at COAD over the past five years and is the true definition of a dedicated volunteer!